Recommended Books

The Gospel Coalition Staff: Recommended 2010 Books

desiringGod: Top 5 Books Read in 2010

Szabados Ádám: Legjobb olvasmányaim 2009-2010-ben

4 responses to “Recommended Books

  1. It is truly amazing, how people attack the New Life Mission books by Rev. Paul C. Jong, and recommend their books, which of course generate money and wealth. These “preachers” focus on worldly possessions and worldly enrichment. Rev. Paul C. Jong has his focus on people’s eternal life, and his books are of high quality, yet free for all who have the disire to be Born Again through the Water and the Spirit. (John 3:3-7)
    The New Life Mission keeps no pagan holidays as most of the people do in this world! Yes, they do acknowledge that our Lord Jesus Christ was born into this world, got baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist, thus taking upon Himself all the sins of this world, as the lamb of God who takes away the sin of this world, as John the Baptist proclaimed. Most nominal ‘christians” focus on a little babe in a manger, losing their view of the fact that Jesus is not a little baby, but, Lord of Lords, and King of Kings. Xmas is pagan, but preachers and priests keep deceiving people by the millions the world over! Is Xmas Christian?
    Are You as Wise as They Were?
    Stephen R. BradMen from the East visited Jesus as a child and showed their wisdom through their actions in many ways. As you consider this lesson, ask yourself: Am I as wise as they were?

    Have you ever read something in the past, only to read it again later and discover certain details you missed the first time? Or, perhaps the second time through you realize that you misunderstood some things the first time. How closely have you examined the details that are given in Matthew 2:1-12? Let’s read the verses and then I will ask you two basic questions about the wise men – “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.’ When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. So they said to him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: “But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not the least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you shall come forth a Ruler who will shepherd My people Israel.” ‘ Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.’ When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshipped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.”

    Question #1: How many wise men were there?
    Three? That’s what most folks think, but the text doesn’t actually say three. Presumably, people get this idea since there were three gifts delivered to Baby Jesus. We can know that there were at least two wise men based on the plural wording, and there may have been three. Of course, there may have been ten or more; we simply don’t know.

    Question #2: Where did the wise men visit Jesus?
    At the manger? Again, that’s what most folks think, but the text mentions in verse 11 about the wise men entering a house (the shepherds of Luke 2:8ff are the ones who visited Him in the manger). It can be shown that Jesus is at least a couple months old when the wise men visit Him; He definitely wasn’t in the manger anymore (cf. Luke 2:22ff).

    I point these two things out to show you that although this is probably a familiar text to most of us, there are always things for us to learn (and be reminded of) in God’s word. I believe there are some great lessons that we can learn from these wise men. In fact, I believe that their actions in this text clearly show us why these men were wise, and if we act in like manner, we too will be wise.

    Stephen, how do the actions of these men indicate that they were wise? Let me show you in the following eleven points.

    1. THEY WERE INTERESTED IN CHRIST.
    Why else would they travel to Jerusalem inquiring about the One who had been born King of the Jews? They were genuinely excited about the opportunity before them. Not everyone in Jesus’ day was interested in Him. Many people hated Him and even tried to kill Him. Many misunderstood His mission. But those who were truly wise had a positive interest in Jesus. On one occasion, after hundreds of followers forsook Jesus, He asked His apostles if they were going to leave too. Peter’s response is recorded in John 6:68 – “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Peter was wise enough to realize this–are you?

    If a person is going to be saved, they must become sincerely interested in Christ and His church. Acts 4:12 – “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Also consider John 14:6 – “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'” If you’re wise, then you are a person interested in Christ!

    2. THEY WERE READY TO SEARCH.
    Some people want to accomplish certain things but are not willing to put forth the effort and dedication to attain them. This was not the case with the wise men; they were willing to search. Wise men and women today still search for the LORD. Isaiah 55:6 teaches – “Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near.” Are you one who has diligently sought after God?

    Jesus taught in Matthew 7:7,8 – “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” If we seek God with good and honest hearts, we will find Him (Deut. 4:29)! The wise men would have never found Jesus had they not been willing to search; no one today will find Christ until they seek Him. If you’re wise, then you are willing to search for the truth, especially regarding spiritual matters!

    3. THEY DID NOT HAVE TO BE BEGGED TO SEARCH FOR CHRIST.
    The news of the birth of Christ troubled Herod, but it thrilled the wise men. Isn’t it amazing how the same news can have such a different effect on people? It all depends upon one’s perspective. The attitudes of the wise men were completely different than Herod’s. No one had to beg these wise men to search for Jesus; they simply wanted to! Now think about America today. Often it feels like people have to be begged to come to Christ! How sad, especially since few choose to obey, even then! Why don’t most people search for Christ? I believe the answer is that most people aren’t very wise spiritually!

    Jesus set forth the following invitation in Matthew 11:28-30 – “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Jesus didn’t beg people to come to Him, but He extended an invitation and tried to persuade men to do the wise thing (i.e., follow Him). John had this to say in Revelation 22:17 – “And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.” If you’re wise, then no one has to beg you to come to the Lord in faithful obedience–you desire such!

    4. THEY DID NOT LET SOMEONE ELSE DO THEIR SEARCHING FOR THEM.
    Herod sent these men to search for Jesus on his behalf (Matt. 2:8). Doing such actually prevented him from finding Jesus (since the wise men were instructed to return home another way). Spiritually, when we let people do our searching for us, we will be hindered.

    Have you ever let your spouse, parent, or friend do your spiritual searching for you? Have you ever said: “Whatever my husband wants to do religiously is fine with me” or “Whatever my parents did is good enough for me.” There is great danger in allowing others to make our spiritual decisions for us. What if they make the wrong decision? Friends, don’t ever be content to let a Bible class teacher, a preacher, a relative, or anyone else study the Bible for you. Study it for yourself! Do your own searching! It’s your soul that is on the line! Be like the Bereans (Acts 17:11)! If you’re wise, then you won’t allow others to do all of your spiritual searching for you!

    5. THEY WERE NOT TOO PROUD TO ASK FOR GUIDANCE.
    Many women would suggest that these weren’t typical men. They were willing to stop and ask for directions (Matt. 2:1,2)! All jesting aside, this is a significant point spiritually. Are you too proud to ask for guidance or advice? Do you always know the best course of action? If you believe you do, then you have a problem with pride.

    What about the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8:30,31? Was he too proud to ask for spiritual guidance? No. “So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ And he said, ‘How can I, unless someone guides me?’ And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him.”

    This point complements the previous one. It is good to ask for guidance, but one should not blindly accept everything he reads or hears. He must search on his own with discernment. If you’re wise, then you are not a person who is too proud to ask for and receive spiritual guidance!

    6. THEY WERE CONTENT WITH THE LIGHT THAT GOD HAD GIVEN THEM.
    Matthew 2:10 – “When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.” They weren’t merely content with it; they rejoiced to have it! Do you rejoice in the fact that you have God’s word? Do you view the Bible as the Psalmist did? Psalm 119:105 says – “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

    Many treat the Bible with scorn. They don’t value it whatsoever. Their condition is described in II Corinthians 4:4 – “Whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.” Many people are blind to the truth simply because they aren’t looking for it. May we be content and rejoice in God’s word, always remembering Matthew 4:4 – “…It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'” If you’re wise, then you are content with God’s word as your spiritual guide!

    7. THEY LISTENED TO THE VOICE OF GOD RATHER THAN MEN.
    Herod had instructed them to return to him after finding the young Child. God told them not to return to Herod (Matt. 2:8,12). Were these men afraid to disobey Herod? Perhaps, but even if they were, they did not allow their fear to hinder them from obeying God. This is the way it was with the apostles also. Even after being threatened and beaten, the apostles did not stop thinking that they should obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29).

    Admittedly, it is sometimes difficult to listen to God’s voice over the shouts of our fellow men. But, what is even more difficult is hearing God’s voice above our own desires and ideas that are contrary to His. Let us never forget Jeremiah 10:23 – “O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.” If we listen to men over God, we will fall under God’s curse (cf. Gal. 1:6-9). If you’re wise, then you will allow the Scriptures to guide you and not the wisdom of men–not even your own wisdom!

    8. THEY WERE WILLING TO PAY THE PRICE TO FIND CHRIST.
    Some people would not have ventured such a journey without first finding out whether or not the trip would justify the expense, time, and effort. These men were not concerned about these physical matters. Why not? Because they were wise! They knew the value of what they were trying to accomplish. Thus, the physical price tag was essentially irrelevant to them. Friends, it ought to be the same way with us today as we follow Christ. If we are truly wise, we will hear Jesus’ voice in Luke 14:33 – “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.” If you’re wise, then you are a person who is willing to make great sacrifices in order to follow Jesus!

    9. THEY DID NOT STOP UNTIL THEY FOUND CHRIST.
    They had a goal in mind and didn’t turn back until they had accomplished it. This is the type of spiritual dedication we all need. We need to make sure that we don’t follow the example of Agrippa in Acts 26:28,29 – “Then Agrippa said to Paul, ‘You almost persuade me to become a Christian.’ And Paul said, ‘I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains.'” Agrippa was only willing to go so far. He wouldn’t go all the way for the Lord. Agrippa was a fool. If you’re wise, then you are a person who isn’t content to “almost” be right with God; you won’t stop until you are right with God!

    10. THEY SHOWED THEIR DEVOTION BY WORSHIPPING.
    Matthew 2:11 – “And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him…” God wants us to show our devotion through worship also. John 4:23,24 says – “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” If you are wise, then one way you will show your devotion to God is through worship!

    11. THEY PROVED THEIR SINCERITY BY GIVING TO CHRIST.
    The end of Matthew 2:11 reads – “And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” Were they required to give? No, but they wanted to out of love and respect. It ought to be the same way with us today. The apostle Paul taught in II Corinthians 8:8,24 – “I speak not by commandment, but I am testing the sincerity of your love by the diligence of others…Therefore show to them, and before the churches the proof of your love and of our boasting on your behalf.” The wise will reflect upon Psalm 116:12 regularly – “What shall I render to the LORD for all His benefits toward me?” God has shown such great love toward man in many ways (John 3:16). If you’re wise, then you prove your love to be sincere by giving generously to the Lord!

    Dear listeners, we must all strive to be wise. James 3:13 teaches – “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.” I leave you with this question: Are you as wise as these men from the East were? If so, your actions will show it. Thank you for listening, and may the Lord bless you as you strive to do His will

  2. Christmas: Is it “Christian” or Pagan?

    Lorraine Day, M.D.

    The Bible does not tell us when Jesus was born. However, we know that the angels announced the birth of Christ to the Bethlehem shepherds in the open fields who were tending their flocks by night.. This fact certainly implies that the birth of Jesus could NOT have been on the 25th of December. “The cold of the night in Palestine between December and February is very piercing, and it was not customary for the shepherds of Judea to watch their flocks in the open fields later than about the end of October.” Hislop, A., The Two Babylons, Loiseaux Brothers, Neptune, N.J. pg 91.

    In addition, Jesus Himself said, in speaking of the coming destruction of Jerusalem,

    “But pray that your flight be NOT in winter, neither on the Sabbathday.”
    Matt 24:20

    Obviously, Jesus understood that the wintertime in Palestine was harsh enough to make traveling difficult and uncomfortable. If the winter was such a bad time in which to flee, it seems unlikely that the shepherds would be sleeping out in the fields while tending their sheep during that season.

    Because of these facts, and others to be discussed, it is virtually impossible for the birth of Christ to have occurred on December 25.

    “No such festival as Christmas was ever heard of until the THIRD century, and not until the FOURTH century was far advanced did it gain much observance.

    “Long before the fourth century, and long before the Christian era itself, a festival was celebrated among the HEATHEN, at that precise time of the year, in honor oft the birth of the son of the Babylonian queen of heaven; and it may fairly be presumed that, in order to conciliate the heathen, and to swell the number of the nominal adherents of Christianity, the same festival was adopted by the Roman Church, giving it only the name of Christ. This tendency on the part of Christians to meet Paganism half-way was very early developed.” Ibid, pg 93

    It is beyond doubt that Christmas was originally a pagan festival. The time of the year and the ceremonies with which it is still celebrated, prove its origin.

    Isis, the Egyptian title for the “queen of heaven,” gave birth to a son at this very time, about the time of the winter solstice. The term “Yule” is the Chaldee (Babylonian) name for “infant” or “little child.”

    This pagan festival not only commemorated the figurative birthday of the sun in the renewal of its course, but it also was celebrated (on December 24) among the Sabeans of Arabia, as the birthday of the “Lord Moon.”

    In Babylon, where the sun (Baal) was the object of worship, Tammuz was considered the incarnation of the Sun.

    “In the Hindu mythology, which is admitted to be essentially Babylonian, this comes out very distinctly. There, Surya, or the Sun, is represented as being incarnate, and born for the purpose of subduing the enemies of the gods, who without such a birth, could not have been subdued.” Ibid pg 96

    There are many other Christmas counterparts of the Babylonian winter solstice festival, such as: 1) candles lighted on Christmas eve and used throughout the festival season were equally lighted by the Pagans on the eve of the festival of the Babylonian god, to do honor to him, 2) the Christmas tree was equally common in Pagan Rome and Pagan Egypt. In Egypt that tree was the palm tree; in Rome it was the fir. The tree denoted the Pagan Messiah.

    “The mother of Adonis, the Sun God and great mediatorial divinity, was mystically said to have been changed into a tree, and when in that state to have brought forth her divine son. If the mother was a tree, the son must have been recognized as the ŒMan of the branch.” Ibid pg 97

    The Yule log was considered the dead stock of Nimrod (or Tammuz, depending on the specific nation involved), deified as the sun god, but cut down by his enemies; the Christmas tree is Nimrod revived – the slain god come to life again.

    The Yule occultic colors are red and green.

    The mistletoe branch symbolized “the man, the branch” and was regarded as a divine branch – a corrupt Babylonian representation of the true Messiah. Both mistletoe and holly were considered fertility plants by the pagans.

    “Babylon was, at that time, the center of the civilized world; and thus Paganism, corrupting the Divine symbol as it ever has done, had opportunities of sending forth its debased counterfeit of the truth to all the ends of the earth, through the Mysteries that were affiliated with the great central system in Babylon.”
    Ibid pg 99

    The story of the death of Adonis, also known as Tammuz, involved a fatal wound from the tusk of a boar when Tammuz was 40 years old. That is why a boar was sacrificed on this Pagan holiday. Even today, a Christmas ham is a traditional favorite of many.

    “According to a Roman almanac, The Christian festival of Christmas was celebrated in Rome by A.D. 336. During the 4th century the celebration of Christ’s birth on December 25 was gradually adopted by most Eastern churches. In Jerusalem, opposition to Christmas lasted longer, but it was subsequently accepted.

    “The traditional customs connected with Christmas have developed from several sources as a result of the coincidence of the celebration of the birth of Christ with the pagan agricultural and solar observances at mid-winter. December 25 was regarded as the birthdate of the Iranian mystery god Mithra, the Sun of Righteousness. . . The ecclesiastical calendar retains numerous remnants of pre-Christian festivals—notably Christmas, which blends elements including both the feast of the Saturnalia and the birthday of the god Mithra.” Encyclopedia Britannica, 1976 edition; Micropedia II, pg 903, Macropedia 15, pg 1063.

    The much-loved hero of Christmas, Santa Claus, who “knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows when you’ve been bad or good” and who can circumnavigate the globe in one night, is nothing more than the Winter stag god, the god of the hunt, a “take-off” on the true God of heaven, who is omnipresent (everywhere at once), omniscient (knows all), and omnipotent (all powerful).

    Santa has Eight Reindeer. Reindeer are symbolic of the Pagan Stag god. The number 8 is the number for a new beginning, and, when laid on its side, is the occultic symbol for Infinity.

    There can be no doubt that the Pagan festival of the winter solstice—in other words, Christmas—was held in honor of the birth of the Babylonian Messiah.

    The prophet Ezekiel is told by God to:

    “Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations that they (the Israelites) do.

    “Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the Lord’s house (the Temple) which was toward the north; and behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz (A Sumerian fertility god similar to the Greek god, Adonis).” Ezekiel 8:14

    December 25 was also the Day of Saturnalia, a celebration dedicated to the Chief god, Saturn, during which time there was much drinking, many banquets, and presents were exchanged.

    God is very clear in his directives against the celebration of this Pagan holiday that Christians now universally celebrate as Christmas. God calls this an abomination! Christians celebrate December 25th blindly believe they are honoring the birth of Jesus, when they are in reality honoring the Pagan god Tammuz.

    In Jeremiah 10:1-4, we read:

    “Hear ye the word which the Lord speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:

    “Thus saith the Lord, ŒLearn NOT the way of the heathen, and be NOT dismayed at the signs of heaven (the queen of heaven, Isis, worshiped by the heathen), for the heathen are dismayed at them.

    “For the customs of the people are futile: for one cuts a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the ax.

    “They decorate it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.”

    There could be NO more specific description of a present-day Christmas, than this.

    God says, “DON’T do it. This is Paganism!”

    Easter: It’s Totally Pagan too!

    Easter is not a Christian name. It is Chaldean (Babylonian) in origin – the name Astarte, one of the titles of Beltis, the queen of heaven. The name Astarte, as found on the Assyrian monuments by the noted archeologist Layard, was the name Ishtar. The worship of Bel and Astarte was introduced very early into Britain, along with the Druids, “the priests of the groves,” the high places where the pagans worshipped the idols of Baal. In the Almanac of the 1800’s, May 1st is called Beltane, from the pagan god, Bel. The titles Bel and Molech both belong to the same god.

    We must remember that Semiramis (also known as Ishtar) of Babylon, the wife of Nimrod and mother of Tammuz, was the same goddess worshiped throughout the world under various names, such as the Egyptian fertility god, Artemis, the Roman goddess of licentiousness, Venus, the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite, and the Ephesian, many-breasted fertility god, Diana, as well as many others.

    The (Easter) bunny, the oldest pagan symbol of fertility – Semiramis – has absolutely NOTHING to do with the birth of Christ.

    Nor does the Sunrise service. Jesus was resurrected while it was still DARK!

    “And early came Mary Magdalene, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.” John 20:1

    Sunrise services are for the worship of the Pagan Sun god – ONLY! In addition, Jesus was NOT resurrected on Sunday, the first day of the week. Please see the study entitled “Was Jesus Really Resurrected on Sunday?” at http://www.goodnewsaboutgod.com

    One mythological legend says that sometime after Semiramis died, a huge egg dropped from heaven. Out of the egg came a re-incarnated Semiramis, now a goddess. The Babylonian Talmud refers to her as Ishtar, or Easter.

    The forty days of Lent symbolize one day for each year of Tammuz’ life. This period of time is celebrated in the “Christian” church by giving up something to mourn the death – of Tammuz, the son of the pagan goddess Semiramis!

    Ezekiel 8:13,14 tells us what God thinks about any festival that recognizes Tammuz:

    “The Lord said also unto me, Turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations that they (the Israelites) do.

    Then He brought me to the door of the gate of the Lord’s house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz.”

    As late as the 19th century, in Great Britain, at Beltan (or the 1st of May) a number of men and women assembled at an ancient Druidical circle of stones near Crieff, to participate in an ancient worship feast to Baal.

    The festival of Pasch, or the Passover, was very early observed by many professing Christians, in commemoration of the death and resurrection of Christ, although it cannot be traced back as far as the Apostles. But Pasch was observed by Christians a full month before the festival of Ishtar was celebrated by the Pagans. In addition, the festival of Ishtar (Easter) now observed in churches is far different from the original festival of Pasch.

    The amalgamation of the Christian Pasch, as observed in Britain by the Christians, and the Pagan Easter enforced by Rome, occurred by violence and bloodshed. But at last, the Festival of the Anglo-Saxon or Chaldean goddess, Ishtar, came to supersede that which had been held in honor of Christ.

    “The hot cross buns of Good Friday, and the dyed eggs of Easter Sunday figured in the Chaldean rites just as they do today. The Œbuns,’ known by the identical name, were used in the worship of the queen of heaven, the goddess Ishtar, as early as the days of Cecrops, the founder of Athens, that is, 1500 years BEFORE the Christian era. One species of sacred bread which used to be offered to the gods was called ŒBoun.'” Hislop, Two Babylons, pg 107.

    “The children gather wood, the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven. Jeremiah 7:18

    The hot cross buns are not now offered, but eaten instead, on the festival of Easter (Astarte – Ishtar).

    “The origin of the Pasch (Passover) eggs is just as clear. The ancient Druids bore an egg as the sacred emblem of their order. In the mysteries of Bacchus, as celebrated in Athens, one part of the nocturnal ceremony consisted in the consecration of an egg. The hindu fables celebrate their mundane egg as of a golden color. In China, even as late as the 19th century, dyed or painted eggs were used during sacred festivals.

    “In ancient times, eggs were used in the religious rites of the Egyptians and the Greeks, and were hung up for mystic purposes in their temples. . . The classic poets are full of the fable of the mystic egg of the Babylonians.

    “The occult meaning of the mystic egg of Astarte had reference to the ark during the time of the flood, in which the whole human race was shut up, as the chick is enclosed in the egg before it is hatched. And of course, the egg also refers to birth, or creation.

    “Though the deified queen, whom Astarte represented, had no actual existence till some centuries after the flood, yet through the doctrine of metampsychosis, which was firmly established in Babylon, it was easy for her worshippers to be made to believe that, in a previous incarnation, she had lived in the Antediluvian world and passed safely through the waters of the flood. The Roman Catholic Church then adopted this mystic egg of Astarte, and consecrated it as a symbol of Christ’s resurrection.” Ibid pg 109,110.

    The Bible clearly tells us what God considers the memorial of Christ’s death and resurrection. It is NOT the pagan celebration of Easter, in honor of the pagan god, Ishtar. It is BAPTISM:

    “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death?

    Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that just as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

    “For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection:

    “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed (rendered inoperative), that henceforth we should not be slaves of sin.” Romans 6:3-6

    The memorial for Christ’s death and resurrection is BAPTISM – – – NOT Easter!

    There is NO doubt that Easter is a totally Pagan holiday.

    How about Halloween?

    “In ancient Britain and Ireland, the Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-inn), the Lord of the Dead, was observed on October 31, at the end of summer. The date was also the eve of the new year in both Celtic and Anglo-Saxon times and was the occasion for one of the ancient fire festivals when huge bonfires were set on hilltops to frighten away evil spirits. The souls of the dead were supposed to revisit their homes on this day, and the autumnal festival acquired sinister significance, with ghosts, witches, hobgoblins, black cats, fairies, and demons of all kinds said to be roaming about.

    It was the time to placate the supernatural powers controlling the processes of nature. The pagan observances influenced the Christian festival of All Hallows’ Eve, celebrated on the same date.” Encyclopedia Britannica, Micropedia IV, pg 862; 1976

    Samhain, or Halloween, is the highest night of human sacrifice on the Illuminati calendar. It is also considered a “Cross Road,” a very important symbol in the Illuminati. October 31 ends the occultic year, whereas November 1 begins the new occultic year, therefore making this date an important “Cross Road.”
    Members of Wicca, the modern-day name for Witchcraft, celebrate Halloween as one of their highest holy days. They also gather on May 1st, May Day, the pagan festival of Ishtar. Present-day witches claim they do not worship the devil, Lucifer, or Satan. They say they believe “in a balance of both male and female.” Thus, they say, they worship the god and the goddess. They, according to their literature, honor Mother Earth, and hold all of nature with great respect. However, the god and goddess they worship are the same gods worshipped in ancient Babylon, Egypt, Rome and Greece – Nimrod (Tammuz) and Semiramis, just with different names. These are pagan gods and have NOTHING to do with the true God of the Bible.

    Halloween is also a high, holy day for Satanists, those who openly admit to worshiping Satan. It is obvious that Halloween is all about death, skeletons, vampires, ghosts, witches, witches’ cauldrons, and various other items connected with darkness, evil and the devil. It originated from the ritual of human sacrifice of a cult of the ancient Celts in Britain, the Druids.

    The Druid priests met at stone temple altars, such as Stone Henge, and sacrificed human beings to appease the gods. They also wore frightening masks and clothes (costumes) in an attempt to scare away the ghosts of the dead who were supposed to be revisiting their homes on that night.

    The Druids who could not attend the rituals of human sacrifice, instead celebrated this Satanic holy day with Harvest Festivals – also celebrations to the pagan gods of nature. Harvest Festivals, even though completely pagan in their origins, are now often put on by churches as a supposedly “wholesome substitute” for the celebration of the pagan, Satanic rite of Halloween.

    Druids

    The Druids were “the learned class among the ancient Celts, whose name means Knowing (or Finding) the Oak Tree. They seem to have frequented oak forests and acted as priests, teachers, and judges. The earliest known records of the Druids come from the 3rd century BC.

    “The Druids offered human victims as sacrifices for those who were gravely sick or in danger of death in battle. Huge wickerwork images were filled with living men and then burned; although the Druids chose criminals by preference, they sacrificed innocent victims if necessary.

    “In the early period, Druidic rites were held in clearings in the forest. Sacred buildings were used only later under Roman influence. The Druids were suppressed in Gaul by the Romans under Tiberius (reigned AD 14-37) and probably in Britain a little later.” Encyclopedia Britannica, Micropaedia III pg 674: 1976.

    These Druidic rites are still celebrated by the elitist of the U.S. and the world, every summer, at the Bohemian Grove, about 60 miles north of San Francisco. Since 1873, the Global Elite has held secret meetings in the ancient Redwood forest of Northern California. Members of the so-called “Bohemian Club” include former presidents Eisenhower, Nixon and Reagan. The Bush family maintains a strong involvement and membership includes others of the rich and powerful. During the two-week festival, a Druidic rite takes place with the leaders dressed in the Satanic Druid garb, long red, black and silver robes with hoods.

    During the ritual, there is the sacrifice of a human being (an effigy they claim), to the pagan god Molech, with accompanying screams of death of the victim broadcast over the audio system. A huge statue of an owl, representing the pagan god of wisdom, has been permanently built on the grounds and dominates the ritual. For more information, visit http://www.infowars.com

    It is during these degenerate, perverted, debase proceedings, that many of the important U.S. and global political decisions are made by the elitists, decisions that often have a very negative impact on the lives of average, hard-working Americans.

    This clearly shows that the ancient pagan, Satanic rituals of the Druids are still being honored and embraced today by the global elite, including many presidents, congressmen and senators who claim to be Christian. No TRUE Christian could ever participate in a pagan ceremony such as this.

    Not Valentine’s Day too?

    Valentine’s day also has occultic origins. Cupid (Tammuz/Osiris/Nimrod) is the son of the Greek goddess, Venus (Semiramis). Venus, is the daughter of the Greek god Jupiter, the head god (Nimrod, the sun god of Babylon, and Ra, the sun god of Egypt). Cupid is depicted with a bow and arrow, a reminder of Nimrod being a “mighty hunter” (Genesis 10:9).

    Valentine’s day began as a pagan fertility rite celebrated with drunkenness and sexual license during which time SWEETS and SPRING FLOWERS were given as sacrifices to the gods in the temple.

    Unfortunately, almost every holiday that is commonly celebrated can be traced to pagan roots, including the lowly Ground Hog day.

    Why Were These Pagan Holidays and Festivals “Christianized”?

    The Christianization of Pagan holidays began about the fourth century A.D. when the Roman Emperor Constantine, became (or feigned becoming) a Christian. In order to consolidate his rule, he incorporated the Pagan holidays and festivals into the church ritual – attracting the Pagans, but he gave the holidays and festivals new “Christian” names and identities – thus appeasing the Christians. Over the centuries, this practice has continued until the present time where we find the two systems, Paganism and Christianity, almost indistinguishable.

    This is the Adversary’s clever deception – Paganism dressed up in Christian clothes! It’s still nothing more than Paganism, but the Christian churches have wholeheartedly embraced this deception.

    • What the Bible Teaches About Christmas
      by Stephen R. Bradd
      December 25th is quickly approaching. What does God’s word teach about Christmas? May a Christian observe religious holidays? If so, how?

      Christmas will be here before we know it and another year will soon be gone. Christmas means different things to different people. For children, Christmas is typically a time of great joy and excitement related to opening presents and getting a break from school. For families, Christmas is typically a time to get together with relatives to visit and overeat. For retail businesses, Christmas is typically a time to have their highest sales for the year. For those who have recently lost loved ones, Christmas is often a time where good memories of the past lead to discouragement (tragically, suicide rates are generally higher during the holidays because of feelings of loneliness). For most religious groups in America, Christmas is a time where a special service is held to honor the birth of Jesus Christ. For some who claim to be Christians, Christmas is one of the few times each year they meet with others for worship.

      Every year there are several who ask me: “When is your special Christmas service going to be?” Most who proclaim to be followers of Jesus hold December 25th in high esteem as a special day. But, as those who are endeavoring to be guided by the Scriptures in all things, we must ask the question: What does the Bible teach about Christmas?

      Let’s start with the explicit teaching. What does the Bible teach about Christmas explicitly? The answer: absolutely nothing! Did you hear that? The Bible doesn’t say anything directly about Christmas. But, we can still address the subject and see what the Bible says about it implicitly. Just because the term Christmas isn’t in the Bible doesn’t mean God’s word doesn’t have principles that are relevant to the subject. Let us begin with…

      THE ORIGIN OF CHRISTMAS
      The word “Christmas” is derived from the proper name “Christ,” and the addition, “mass,” a rite or commemorative ceremony. Thus, the word “Christmas” originally signified a ceremony regarding Christ; and, in the minds of many, the celebration of His birth date, thought by such to be on December 25th. It is of significance that this word was not coined until the 11th century–a thousand years after our Lord came to the earth.

      However, the observance or celebration of the birth of Christ dates to the 2nd century of the Christian era, the first traces of such being noted in the reign of the Roman emperor Commodus (c. 180 AD). A tragic event occurred in connection with its observance when the pagan emperor Diocletian (born in 284 AD), learned there was a congregation of Christians assembled in the city of Nicomedia to celebrate the birthday of the Lord. He ordered the church doors closed and fire set to the building. Everyone inside perished in the flames. In the centuries immediately following the close of the apostolic age, it appears that the birthday of Jesus was celebrated in the Spring of the year, often as late as April or May; and, it was not until the 4th century that an agreement was reached by various religious parties and their leaders to observe December 25th as the day of our Lord’s birth.

      Do you know why the date December 25th was chosen? Julius Africanus popularized the idea that Jesus was born on December 25th in his reference book written in 221 AD based on the assumption that Jesus died on March 25th. It was a traditional Jewish belief that prophets died on the same date as their conception. Thus, if Jesus was conceived on March 25th, then He was born nine months later (assuming a gestation period lasting exactly nine months). Obviously, this “evidence” is not convincing at all to the modern mind.

      The observance of Christmas, as a religious holiday, did not originate in the apostolic age and is thus without divine sanction. As a matter of fact, it is not possible to determine in what month or on what day the Savior was born. God tells us through the Bible that His Scriptures will thoroughly equip us for every good work (cf. II Tim. 3:16,17). If God wanted Christians to celebrate the birth of His Son in a special fashion, He would have equipped us for that task through the Bible. In other words, He would have given us an example or precept to follow. But, the Bible does not do that. Thus, we do not keep it as a religious holiday.

      As a side note, the Bible does give us example and instruction pertaining to remembering Jesus’ death (i.e., the Lord’s Supper memorial). Had the Lord wanted His birth celebrated in a special way, the Holy Spirit would have included some instructions in the New Testament for us. The silence of the New Testament on the matter is significant. So, ultimately, the origin of Christmas as a religious holiday is man-made and without divine authority. It is important to keep this truth in mind as we consider…

      THE DANGER OF RELIGIOUS HOLIDAYS
      Let’s broaden our scope a bit and consider religious holidays in general. I do not want to exclusively focus on Christmas.

      One danger of religious holidays is that they can endanger our liberty in Christ. We can become enslaved to them. Consider Galatians 4:8-11:

      “But, then indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods. But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? You observe days and months and seasons and years. I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.”
      Paul here alludes to rites and ceremonies that were found in Judaism and paganism. The apostle had in mind those who had come out of paganism and were being encouraged to observe elements of Judaism. Specifically, “days and months and seasons and years” (e.g., the Sabbath, the new moons, festivals like the Passover, Feast of Tabernacles, and Pentecost, Sabbatical years, Jubilees, etc.). These are examples of weak and beggarly elements. They are weak in that they are powerless to save the soul or justify the sinner. They are beggarly in that they are unable to impart true spiritual riches. These things were designed to be replaced. Consider Colossians 2:16,17 – “So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.” Also, Hebrews 9:9,10 – “It was symbolic for the present time in which both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in regard to the conscience–concerned only with foods and drinks, various washings, and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation.” Religious days, like other elements of the Law of Moses, were carnal ordinances designed to be replaced with a more spiritual form of worship (cf. John 4:20-24).

      Why would we want to implement new religious days or ceremonies when the divinely ordained Old Testament ones have been done away? Again, isn’t God smart enough to tell us what He wants? If He wanted a Christmas holy day, how hard would it have been for Him to inspire Paul to mention it in one of his many New Testament epistles?

      To create new religious days or ceremonies that the Lord hasn’t authorized seems to me to be a step backward toward the physical or carnal elements of Old Testament worship. It will often lead to the binding of one’s opinion upon another (which is contrary to the liberty Christians are to enjoy). Can followers of Christ be satisfied with simple, pure worship that is in spirit and truth? Although many believe observing holy days enhances their faith, the fact is it can be a step backward from true spirituality!

      Another danger of religious holidays is that they can endanger our salvation in Christ. Apostasy is possible–otherwise, there would be no reason for Paul to be fearful and in doubt over their condition (cf. Gal. 4:11,20).

      How could observing a religious holiday endanger one’s soul? For example, if we observe an Old Testament religious holiday (or practice) based on the notion that we must do so to be saved, then we have fallen from grace! Galatians 5:1-4 is critical to understand here:

      “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.”
      If one thinks his salvation is dependent upon keeping an Old Testament requirement (like circumcision), then he has put his trust in the wrong place. Likewise, if one believes his salvation is conditioned upon observing a Christmas or Easter ceremony, he has put his trust in the wrong place! When men freely follow their own ideas, opinions, and traditions (like Christmas as a religious day), they soon elevate such to the level of Scripture. Then, they are quick to condemn or think less of those who don’t follow their man-made notions!

      We must understand that worship can be vain. Jesus warned against this in Matthew 15:7-9 – “Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth. And honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'” There were plenty of people in Jesus’ day who made their own religious laws and condemned those who didn’t keep them. Jesus said that their worship was worthless. They hypocritically obeyed their traditions and regularly disregarded God’s word! Tragically, people do the same today. They attempt to serve and worship God in any way they choose, just assuming that He will accept such. There are many today who come near to God with their mouths via the words they utter in a Christmas worship assembly. They will honor God with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him! They keep their self-created “holy day” for Jesus’ birth and essentially ignore the bulk of the New Testament doctrine for their life and worship!

      I hope that the prior points have made an impression upon you. However, I’d be negligent Biblically if I didn’t share a final point with you…

      CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH RELIGIOUS DAYS MIGHT BE OBSERVED
      I believe Romans 14:5,6 gives authority to a Christian on an individual basis to observe religious days under certain conditions.

      First, let’s read Romans 14:5,6 and comment upon it – “One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks.” This chapter is clearly about matters of indifference (i.e., matters that are right if done and right if left undone–like eating meat, for example).

      Consider the case of a life-long Jew who has converted to Christianity. He has never worked a Saturday in his life. Even after learning that the Sabbath law is no longer binding, he may very well have difficulty doing any work on Saturday and not having a guilty conscience (similarly, he might also have trouble eating certain meats that were formerly prohibited).

      What should a man do in this situation? Is there anything wrong with him deciding to personally continue to rest on Saturdays and meditate on the greatness of God and spend time with his family? Of course there is nothing wrong with this. If he chooses to elevate this day in importance in his own mind and life, he has the right to do that–as long as he understands that doing such is not necessary to his soul’s salvation. He has no right to bind that view upon another or hold it as a matter of salvation. It’s simply his own personal preference. He cannot rightly tell others they are sinning if they work on Saturday.

      I believe the wording in Romans 14:5,6 is general enough to apply to a Christian who decides to personally honor the Lord’s birth on December 25th. Someone who comes out of a denominational background will likely naturally think of Jesus’ birth on that day anyway. Is there anything wrong with him meditating upon Jesus’ birth or praising God privately for Jesus’ birth on December 25th? Of course not. Let us read Romans 14:5,6 again – “One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it…” However, if an individual looks at me and thinks less of me for not celebrating Jesus’ birth, he has gone too far! On matters of indifference, we must be sensitive to the convictions of others and give up our liberties to avoid offense.

      In Romans 14 we must understand that Paul was talking about things done on an individual basis, not as a work or worship of the church. In other words, these matters of indifference cannot be imposed on others. If we had a Christmas service on a Sunday, we would inherently be imposing it upon anyone who attended our assembly (their only option would be to forsake the assembly, and that’s not really an option for a faithful Christian!). Also, such would certainly leave the impression that the Christmas service was necessary.

      Christians need to be careful about their liberty in Christ (cf. Gal. 5:1). We must be careful not to impose our liberty in ways that cause division and we must progress to a higher plane of spirituality, not regress to carnal forms of religion.

      To publicly observe religious holidays that the New Testament doesn’t authorize is unnecessary and dangerous. Those who choose to personally elevate a particular day for a religious reason may do so, but they must not impose it on others and they must understand it has no direct role in their justification. It should also be noted that these conclusions are consistent with the way Paul viewed the subject of circumcision under the New Testament.

      My personal view of Christmas is similar to how I view Thanksgiving. I know the idea of an annual observance is foreign to the Scriptures. As Christians we should give thanks for our numerous blessings and praise God for Christ’s birth continually. If He had not been born, He could not have died to atone for the sins of the world!

      If we are seeking to “continue steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine” (Acts 2:42), we will refrain from adding human traditions to the work and worship of the church. Even so, I am grateful that at least once a year people think about Jesus’ birth. My prayer is that people will do more than just think about His birth once a year. May they submit to His rule and be citizens of His kingdom!

      Unless we submit to the authority of Jesus Christ, His birth means nothing to us. Have you been born again of water and Spirit that you might enter the wonderful kingdom of God (cf. John 3:3-5)?

      Thank you for listening, and may the Lord bless you as you strive to do His will.

  3. Who Is Jesus?
    by Stephen R. Bradd
    How would you respond if someone asked you today: “Who is Jesus?” Would you tell them of the virgin birth (Matt. 1:23)? Would you speak of all the good things Jesus did, especially the miraculous healings (Acts 10:38)? Would you talk about all the Old Testament prophecies He fulfilled which prove Him to be the Messiah (Luke 24:44)? Would you detail the last day of His life where He was betrayed, tried, and brutally executed on a cross (Matt. 26 & 27)? Would you expound upon His resurrection and explain what it means to the faithful today (Matt. 28 & I Cor. 15)? Certainly all of these points (and others) are worthy of mention when one speaks about Jesus of Nazareth.

    But, where would you go if you could only turn to one passage of Scripture to teach about Jesus? Although there is no single passage that encapsulates all of the major ideas we mentioned a moment ago, there is one passage that comes to my mind that seems to declare who Jesus is to a great degree of depth. I’m referring to the first chapter in John’s account of the gospel. At this time, let us briefly highlight some of the marvelous descriptions of Jesus found within this wonderful chapter.

    According to John’s prologue:

    Jesus is eternal, having existed with God from the beginning (1:1),
    Jesus is deity for He is declared to be God (1:1),
    Jesus is the agent by which all things were created–nothing was made without Him (1:3),
    Jesus is the means and source of moral life (1:4),
    Jesus is the one that John the baptizer bore witness of and prepared the way for (1:7),
    Jesus is the true Light for mankind (1:8),
    Jesus became flesh and dwelt among men (1:14),
    Jesus was characterized by a unique kind of glory–He is truly one-of-a-kind (1:14),
    Jesus is the means and source of abundant grace (1:16),
    Jesus is the means and source of ultimate truth (1:17),
    Jesus is the only begotten Son of God (1:18),
    Jesus showed the world who the Father is, even though no one has seen God at any time (1:18),
    Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (1:29),
    Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit and would baptize others with the Holy Spirit (1:33),
    Jesus is Messiah or Christ (1:41),
    Jesus was written about by Moses and the prophets (1:45), and
    Jesus is the King of Israel (1:49).
    When reading John’s introduction to his account of the gospel, it’s almost as if someone inquired of the apostle: “Who is Jesus?” And John responds magnificently, via his inspired pen, as if to say: “Here is my announcement of who Jesus Christ is. Here are some of His awesome attributes. Anyone who possesses these attributes has to be divine. In the remainder of this book, I will proceed to prove to you that He did indeed possess these attributes.” As one continues reading in the fourth account of the gospel, it is easy to see that John did exactly that. John wrote this amazing book, which included many of Jesus’ miracles, in order that those who read it “may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing [they] may have life in his name” (John 20:30,31). Friends, do you genuinely believe in Jesus the Christ? Are you His friend (John 15:14)? Do you love Him (John 14:15)?

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